Monday, April 22, 2013

Flower Power in the 2013s.

"Does this darkness have a name? This cruelty, this hatred, how did it find us? Did it steal into our lives or did we seek it out and embrace it? What happened to us that we now send our children into the world like we send young men to war, hoping for their safe return, but knowing that some would be lost along the way. When did we lose our way? Consumed by the shadows. Swallowed whole by the darkness. Does this darkness have a name? Is it your name?"

It seems like every time I turn on the news, some innocent life is being taken away. It's like this strong, but cruel force of nature that is sweeping over our nation on a mission to corrupt a unity our founding fathers have worked so hard to attain.

Why does this happen? And how do we make it stop? Is our concern for surviving so little that we just look past finding peace? Have we lost hope?

I have been working on this post since the last "great American tragedy," you know, when a kid essentially blew up a school just a few months ago. I remember thinking during election season "how blessed we are to be not a country where we are fighting battles in our streets, or entering each others' homes and killing our children." Little did I know just a few months later, a boy would shoot his way into a school and take the lives of our educators and our future. Four months later, during the Boston Marathon, two bombs went off killing two and injuring many. It makes you wonder if we truly are blessed, or if we just hit a semi-"lucky" streak.

It's scary, you know. Turning on the news and seeing disaster. But it's scarier seeing how some people react. Instead of reaching out our hand to offer peace, we scream and point fingers at one another. When Sandy Hook happened, half of the nation immediately blamed mental illness or guns - while the other half retracted by rubbing their "Gun Owning Pride" in everyone's face. Our country is more divided than ever, and the peacemakers are outnumbered by those who break during chaos.

Can't we all just get along?

I chose to share this photo of Jan Rose Kasmir, October 1967, because it is iconic of the flower power movement.  "Flower power" was used as a symbol of passive resistance, and a non-violence ideology. It originated in protest against the Vietnam War.

While we are currently not overseas in a war (well, "supposedly,") we are in our own homeland at war with ourselves. So where are our protests? Where are our people saying "Give peace a chance," or "Where is the love?"

Instead of focusing on the good and safety of our country, we focus on ourselves. I think we need to take a stand. Everyone's so quick on Facebook or Twitter to share photos of girls in short shorts, or misguiding facts about calling 211 instead of 911, or of some teenage boy holding a piece of paper reading, 'Like if you love God" - Why won't you share a photo of peace? Maybe a post about your favorite peace maker and their efforts to change the world? Maybe a status about you going out there and spreading peace.  We can never attain peace by sitting at home wishing someone would start this trend. We have to start it ourselves.

The Flower Power movement was an idea that was planted and watered until it grew.
Peace is not an ideology that has since passed. Today we need it more than ever.

How will you spread peace, love, and unity... if you will at all?

"The cry of 'Flower Power' echoes through the land. We shall not wilt. 
Let a thousand flowers bloom."
— Abbie Hoffman, Workshop in Nonviolence, May 1967